Published: Tuesday, March 4 2014 12:00 a.m. MST
The state shouldn't be building hotels. Leave that to the entrepreneurs.
Earl Holding shouldn't have built his hotels, Little and Grand America, so
far from the convention center. It is these two hotels, represented by Clint
Ensign, that have held SLC back from getting a convention hotel for 20 years by
lobbying against a convention hotel every time it comes up. This article ought
to have mentioned whom Clint Ensign works for.
The government subsidies aren't going to the hotel but to the meeting space
and public parking.The hotel is being built with 100% private
developer funds.The sad thing is that the hotel lobby complained so
much about the government building more meeting and exhibit space that they are
now getting compensation for lost revenue from the government caused by a
private development being built and operated privately.How is that
for some lobbying. This deal is the same as an apartment complex owner
receiving compensation from the government if a new apartment building causes
them to lose a tenant.Competition doesn't need government
compensation when it is private developers vs private developers.
When visitors come to town and spend their money, who gets the benefits of the
money they spend. Mostly it's businessmen, most of whom don't even
live in this town. Next in line is the politicians who have additional tax
revenue to spend as they desire. Residents may have some low pay jobs but
don't see any of the profits. Yet it is the residents who are
ask to put up money to build attractions and buildings for the new business.
The statement: "Visionary Utah leaders have invested in
highways, public transit, a great convention center and other facilities" is
quite probably a lie, it was the ordinary taxpayer who put up the money to build
those things. Business should pay its own way.
I am a little familiar with the downtown hotel market. Here are a few facts that
the media isn't reporting when they discuss new convention hotel:1. The hospitality business is still off about 20% from its 2007
(pre-recession) levels. Hotels still have 3 to 5 years to go at current levels
of increase just to get back to where they were in 2007. A "convention"
hotel will only slow this progress.2. The private business owners
benefit far LESS than does the governmental taxing agencies with regards to
funds that come into a hotel--and these agencies have NOTHING AT RISK. Whereas
business owners generally have to put down 25 to 30% equity in today's
market...tying up millions of dollars. Hotels pay Sales Tax, Room Tax, city and
other local taxes, payroll taxes, property taxes, real estate taxes, etc.3. The SLC skyline is NOT identifiable. In fact over 60% of
American's poled guessed that the SLC skyline was actually the Denver
Skyline.My summary: We should not build a convention hotel but
instead build a skyline gondola system that makes our city unique, fits Utah,
and ties all the existing hotels together and to the convention center. Problem(s) solved...
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